The public just don’t get it

I read through an article on the daily mail website about the Escape Artist and the tone and comments really opened my eyes.

I am a not a fan of the Mail and I think that if you are reading it, it’s not for the news but for how it makes you feel.  It preys on your fears, insecurities and emotions – essentially it’s reptilian brain news.  Have a go at the random Mail headline generator for a bit of a laugh.  It’s a paper written for people who don’t want the facts but want to read click bait and have their blood pressure raised.

Anyway, I was directed towards this article that was about the Escape Artist and how you can use the 4% rule and if you spend £25,000 a year, retire on £625,000 or how to retire in your 40s without earning a fortune.  There’s a similar article which allows FI with only self-denial of avocado.

Ok – since it’s for the swivel-eyed Daily Mail readers, it is not written so much as to educate the readers and to direct them towards FI as to evoke rage, envy, jealousy, hated and righteous indignation.  A bit like this article.  Hey it’s the mail – what do you expect.

What interested me was the comments.  I thought that maybe this is a point where FIRE becomes widespread, conventional, household name, something we are all talking about and working towards.  Well, from the comments almost everyone was criticising FIRE and saying it’s not possible and that it is somehow wrong – fundamentally.

Either you are depriving your kids holidays in the sun – which as we know is the best guage of how well you raise your children – To how being a miser is rubbish and how it’s ok for some but how FIRE is not an option if you are only earning £Xk a year (tip, if X = <25, then FIRE income can be X – Y and not 25).

Here are the best rated comments as of about 1pm on 17th September.

No niceties not much of a life , enjoy for today for tomorrow you might be dead .

then the rest of us pay for you because you haven’t saved enough. this is why state pensions should be privatised. why should i pay for your mistakes? since you never planned to be alive after 60, we might as well treat you as such

Delaying your life for 19 years to have fun when you retire……………… Im good thanks! And who the hell, unless you are on a fair bit can save half a salary a year? I mean i done it while saving for a mortgage, but i was living like a hermit to cater for this! This paper does like to come out with story’s that dont match the real world lol

This method has been around in the US for decades… The problem is, you end up wasting your “peak energy” years from 18 to 40 by sitting around at home twiddling your thumbs… No big nights out, no legendary holidays, no cool cars to enjoy the sunny days… And then, when you retire at 40 to 65, you’re sat at home waiting for all your friends and family to come home from work… It’s a good theory, but no fun in practice.

That’s if you still have your good health at 65; too many who do have the option leave it too late to enjoy life.

What rubbish. Try this when you only earn £17k a year and the rent on a one bedroom house is 40% of your outgoings.

“Try to save between 50 and 75 per cent of your earnings every month” – this is so far removed from the reality of most peoples’ situation to be laughable.

I retired at 47 doing a similar thing but 12% average annual returns are a bit over optimistic.

At 48 I feel I’m in my prime to work harder as I have the knowledge and skills needed not to retire.

I’m lucky if I manage to save £20 a month.

A big house, eating out, expensive holidays, new cars, cable TV and non-essential shopping were all banned so the Whiter family could stick to their £24,000-a-year budget for all spending. So if you were unfortunate to then die from an illness you have spent your life saving for what? You sacrificed everything so that the kids missed out on holidays and eating out and then they will leave home and not have happy family memories – surely its about getting the balance right and having the best of both worlds

Right so if your a well paid professional who can save 50% of your earnings, and your luck to get nothing but double digit growth from your investments, you can retire early?????, What about people on minimum wage, who have no surplus money to save, and due to interest rates being nil, and the stock marker having peaked a few years ago, gong forwards this plan simply will not work.

 

No life for 19 years no thanks!

Maybe it’s a good sign when the Daily Mail disagrees with you – a sort of Turing Test by proxy.  The Daily Mail has no ideological stand-point unlike say the Telegrapg or Guardian.  It exists only to provoke – and this article today is getting us to hate the snowflake millennials who have the temerity to not spend all their money on iPhones and Avacado toast!

I can’t claim to have invented FIRE, to have achieved FIRE or to even have a Savings Rate that is 75% of my salary (I’ve managed about 50% but without too much sacrifice). But I can say that I’ve had my eyes open for the last 20 years and the dismal future that we have has been laid on the table for all to view.  I read this book when I was in university and a few others that influenced my thinking.  Anyone who is under 40 now is trapped like quick-sand in a world that will work to enslave them.  The only way out that I can see if FI.  I don’t see how working my ass off to pay taxes (which I don’t get much benefit of) and spend what’s left over to make up for the lack of free time in my life or boredom or stress

In other news, future pensioners are screwed in the developing world.  The report here is a good read – I might write a post on it if I have the time.  It tells you a lot and you have a duty to understand all of the issues and trends within.  We need to be saving more, spending less and living more healthily – not to mention living more sustainable lives.  I can’t say that I’m doing all this right now – but I can at least see a way forward.  Carrying on with the status quo isn’t sustainable in any number of ways.

Maybe I’ve got a thick skin (from carrying around a chip on my shoulders) but I don’t mind if 99% of daily mail readers disagree with me.  There is a fear in my life that I’ll miss out on seeing my son (and soon to be daughter) grow up and that I’ll never build a strong bond with them.  My view is that FIRE is less about doing nothing but the freedom to do what you want – that’s what the daily mail commentators fail to understand.

 

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5 thoughts on “The public just don’t get it

  1. I read the Guardian with my wife last night – interesting chat that we had. It was along the lines of, well if we can get our spending under control, we’ve saved for years, why would we want to go working everyday? The public don’t get it – you need to work to consume to be human.
    anything else does not compute.

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  2. You make decisions based on your own values and priorities. And the consequences of these decisions are your own too!
    I thought The Guardian article was particularly poor – very sneering.
    And there’s another in The Telegraph today – readers’ comments as expected…

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    1. I normally read the Guardian but recently I’ve noticed that it is full of grievance mentality – everything is someone else’s fault (normally evil Tory cuts).
      FIRE offers a genuine escape route for anyone really but they would rather look on with envy, hatred and a sneer.
      Daily Mail is the same, it’s a public attitude and it’s a British attitude – see someone driving a porsche and you think “wanker”, in the US you think “I want to be like that”.

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